City traffic was heavier than usual here in Punta del Este yesterday. Yes, it is high season and the weather is perfect, but there was a sudden influx of casually-dressed pedestrians with accents other than casetllano.
As the new arrivals made their way along the Rambla del Puerto, the four large cruise ships on which they traveled sat glistening in Maldonado Bay. Days like this are an increasingly common and welcome sight in the ports of both Uruguay and Argentina with thousands of first-time international travelers getting a taste of our culture, cuisine and quality of life.
Yesterday alone the four cruise ships, the Grand Mistral, the Costa Victoria, the Opera and the Grand Celebration, brought 14,300 new arrivals to the beaches, boutiques and restaurants of Punta del Este, according to Observa’s Horacio Pintos. The nine-day itinerary of Ibero’s Sudamerica package is typical of regional cruises this time of year which allow passengers to experience unique ports of call in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.
Ships like the Mistral and Celebration often travel from Buenos Aires to Punta and continue up the southern coast of Brazil before returning to BA where the numbers from the Port Authority are equally encouraging: cruise passenger traffic is up 14.4% in Argentina from 121,137 passengers last Season to 138,839 arrivals so far this Season. Both ports and passengers are benefiting from increased public/private investment in passenger facilities, ground transportation and infrastructure. (Full Story in Spanish)
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